Friday, September 30, 2022


Florida begins a long effort to recover from Ian, an Arkansas school works to attract more students to higher education, and Massachusetts Narcan trainers enlist the public's help to prevent overdose deaths.


Hurricane Ian leaves severe flooding and millions without power in Florida, the Senate passed a spending bill to keep the government running to December, and senators aim for greater oversight of federal prisons.


Baseball is America's pastime, and more international players are taking the stage, rural communities can get help applying for federal funds through the CHIPS and Science Act, and a Texas university is helping more Black and Latina women pursue careers in agriculture.

Earning Stars: Minnesota's Top-Rated Child Care Providers


Monday, January 27, 2014   

ROCHESTER, Minn. - The number of day-care providers helping to raise the bar on quality early childhood in Minnesota has now surpassed one-thousand. The providers are enrolled in the voluntary rating program called "Parent Aware."

Minnesota Human Services Commissioner Lucinda Jesson remarked that the voluntary rating system helps providers stay up to date and helps parents more easily find high-quality care and early education.

"I want people to know," she declared, "they should look for quality-rated child care homes because their kids are going to get off to a better start and be more prepared for kindergarten if they do."

Jesson said kids who are ready when they get to kindergarten have better odds for future success, and that's important to all Minnesotans.

In Olmstead County, the program was put in place last year and one of the top-rated programs in that area thus far is Underbakke's "Little Tykes Daycare" in Rochester. That's where Erin Underbakke and her husband take care of a dozen children, from four months to nine years

"I'm always taking different trainings and trying to stay on top of everything," Erin Underbakke said. "This just shows that the providers who are doing this are willing to take an extra step and further their education to help get these kids ready for school."

The Parent Aware rating system is set to go statewide next year.

More information on the program and those providers taking part can be found online at

get more stories like this via email

The number of absentee ballots requested by Michigan voters increased by 73% between the 2018 and 2020 elections, according to the Michigan Secretary of State. (JimCanally/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

Voting advocates say more and more Michiganders are choosing to cast absentee ballots to save time and avoid long lines on Election Day. In 2020…

Social Issues

With the election a little over a month away, some say caregiving and long-term care are issues too big for candidates in Oregon to ignore. There …

Health and Wellness

COVID upended many routines, including Texas parents getting kids in for regularly scheduled childhood vaccines. Data from the Texas Department of …

About 75% of the nation's flowering plants and more than 30% of the nation's food crops rely upon animal pollinators to reproduce, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. (Lamar Gore/John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge)


Pennsylvania has a strong commitment to urban agriculture and community gardening, and some groups in the state are working to get more colorful …


Georgia Power is reducing its reliance on coal by phasing out several coal-fired units. However, clean-energy advocates say the company should …

The State of Black Students at Community College report says 70% of African American college students experienced food and housing insecurity or homelessness during the pandemic. (Gorodenkoff/Adobe Stock)

Social Issues

A new report on Black students in the community college system found fewer are signing up to attend two-year schools, and the college enrollment …


Greenhouse gas emissions have been potentially reduced by 50,000 tons in the state, with the help of Wisconsin farmers supported by a statewide …

Social Issues

Social Security benefits again could see their highest increase in several decades, but those advocating for beneficiaries say there is still plenty …


Phone: 303.448.9105 Toll Free: 888.891.9416 Fax: 208.247.1830 Your trusted member- and audience-supported news source since 1996 Copyright 2021